The survey found employers are expanding their menu of voluntary benefits and services to help workers address their overall financial well-being and security. “Voluntary benefits are evolving as they become a more important differentiator for organizations,” says Mary Tavarozzi, managing director, Health and Benefits, Willis Towers Watson. “While employers continue to embrace traditional voluntary benefits, such as life and disability coverage, they are offering benefits more often to help employees and their families with their financial issues.”
Education benefits that address rising student loan debts and parents saving for children’s future college cost are financial well-being benefits that are gaining traction. According to the survey, 8% of employers currently offer student loan consolidation programs, which could increase to 34% by 2021. Similarly, 10% of employers offer student loan refinancing arrangements, which could increase to 35% by 2021.
In addition, on average, more than half of all respondents offer some form of financial planning and counseling service, which could increase another 10% by 2021.
Other voluntary benefits expected to attract more employer attention over the next few years include:
- Identify theft protection: 36% of employers currently offer — could increase to 63% by 2021;
- Pet insurance: 34% of employers currently offer — could increase to 57% by 2021;
- Long-term care insurance: 16% of employers currently offer — could double to 33% by 2021;
- Critical-illness insurance: 43% of employers currently offer — could increase to 71% by 2021; and
- Hospital indemnity: 24% of employers currently offer — could more than double to 50% by 2021.
“With an increasingly diverse workforce, employers no longer consider voluntary benefits as simply add-ons, but rather as a way to address a host of employee needs, offer choice and allow employees to personalize their rewards,” says Lydia Jilek, director, Voluntary Benefits, Willis Towers Watson.